Concept

Ambulocetus

Summary
Ambulocetus (Latin ambulare "to walk" + cetus "whale") is a genus of early amphibious cetacean from the Kuldana Formation in Pakistan, roughly 48 or 47 million years ago during the Early Eocene (Lutetian). It contains one species, Ambulocetus natans (Latin natans "swimming"), known solely from a near-complete skeleton. Ambulocetus is among the best-studied of Eocene cetaceans, and serves as an instrumental find in the study of cetacean evolution and their transition from land to sea, as it was the first cetacean discovered to preserve a suite of adaptations consistent with an amphibious lifestyle. Ambulocetus is classified in the group Archaeoceti—the ancient forerunners of modern cetaceans whose members span the transition from land to sea—and in the family Ambulocetidae, which includes Himalayacetus and Gandakasia (also from the Eocene of the Indian subcontinent). Ambulocetus had a narrow, streamlined body, and a long, broad snout, with eyes positioned at the very top of its head.
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